Interview with Boas

A few weeks ago I spoke on the phone with the art-savvy, melodic IDM powerhouse that is Boas. Known as Tyler Newbold to his mom, this producer hails from Richmond, VA--which as he assures me (and as you can see), is a hotspot for crazy/awesome/original music acts these days.

His latest self-titled LP release is a fluid, ever-rippling work, held together by synth patches you could only dream of and 'pasted together' broken dance beats. Along the lines of an acid tripping Thom Yorke, his songs manage to break into intricate grooves while still maintaining emotionally driving melodies. I'm not kidding when I say that he has truly made something completely original.

While reading the interview, why not play this track? It's trippy, it's mathy, awesome. (You need headphones to fully enjoy the intricate craziness)

Boas - Dipole

Q: Your name is Boas, but how do you pronounce it? Is it like 'Boas' as in multiple snakes?

A: Yes, exactly. [laughs] A friend of mine said that same exact thing and he asked me something--it was something 'like multiple snakes?' he said those exact words, it was hilarious.

Q: Where does it come from?

A: It's kind of embarrassing but I was doodling--mostly just doodling--with street art, graffiti style-stuff and that was something that I was writing a lot, just because I liked the word, how it looked. I never really did anything with it really, I mean you know, it was just something I was doing in sketchbooks and it was just this weird thing. There's absolutely nothing behind it really, other than that. Naming a project is a torturous process.

Q: I think it fits your music pretty well. Okay, so what were you doing musically before Boas?

A: I play in a band in Richmond called Cold Toast and we were doing that for a while--just like three people--and we're still doing it. So I've been playing in Cold Toast for several years, since I moved to Richmond basically. Even before that I was recording solo stuff. I've been recording solo stuff for a really long time. But I never released anything and I dunno, I was always just kinda waiting until I was perfectly satisfied with my efforts I guess.

Q: All of the visually artistic aspects (the album art, the myspace, everything else) were done by you?

A: Yeah

Q: Okay, so can you tell me about your artistic endeavors?

A: Well I went to art school. I just graduated last August in illustration, communication arts, and I also majored in English. I learned a lot in art school, as kinda bullshit as it was in ways. I still learned a lot about design and that's sort of another career that I'm sort of a beginner in.
In the future, I wouldn't necessarily do it myself, but I feel like it's interesting when musicians do their own art, gives them a lot of control. But I think an element of collaboration is really important, so I think in the future I might outsource that stuff because I know some really interesting artists who would be really cool for that. So I think it's gonna be a one-time-thing for the most part. But who knows.

Q: As an artist/musician, who or what would you say your biggest influences are? Specifically for the album?

A: I feel like the bands I listen to are probably pretty 'clear', clear as far as anybody else would think, on this album at least. But I go through phases when I don't listen to much music, like when I'm working on stuff I sometimes keep clear of conscious external influence. But in those other phases, I am really into new music that I feel is changing things. Specifically on this album, there was a wanting to sound very contemporary, and even urgent. Like most could assume, there's influence from Clark, Animal Collective, Dosh, The Books, people who I really stand behind. But there's a lot of influence on an immediate local level too, like my friends from the Chocolate Milk Collective, here in Richmond, who are some just flourishing and inspiring djs/beatmakers. Vocally, it's sort of a different ballgame, harmonies and stuff. I love Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Sorta like folky music with really really nice tight harmonies. Vocally, I also really adore Bjork. Whenever I'm in a situation where there's a song that needs this appropriate and specific melody, which is sometimes so hard to conjure, I think of what Bjork would do!

Q: Is there anything in particular that attracts you to sacred geometry?

A: Yeah, well I mean, it's a big influence--not like musically or specific 'artist-wise'--but it's sort of this new age stuff that I've been into for a while as far as like conspiracy theories and ET--ET life--and sort of this realm of consciousness that you can pull into your daily life. I saw this documentary about crop circles called 'Star Dreams,' a while ago, and that really turned me on to the intrinsic power of geometry, harmonics, energy. There's very much an urgency feeling around the world, you know, like it's sort of an insanity. But with the understanding of some of these ideas, I think you can break through some barriers, socially, spiritually, and live a little more viscerally. It's just like a synthesis of that stuff, I guess.

Q: Do you have a process when you make songs or do they just kind of work themselves out when you make them?

A: [There are] typically long processes on the songs that you could probably assume would be such. But sometimes there are tracks that I'll do most of the legwork in like a day, and others that will take months and months. But basically it's just like sometimes a long process is like sculpting something. It usually starts off very very basic, ya know, in terms of letting one thing lead to another in terms of what you can hear. You're sort of forming sounds then all the sudden you start hearing things that like [come to you.] In that sense, it's sort of a spontaneous thing in terms of melodies and vocals and stuff. A lot of times the producing/mixing process is a pretty big chunk of the song writing even--in terms of cutting things up and using a collage-y element as opposed to a one shot performance. 

Q: Can Boas songs be played live?

A: Yeah, ya know it all comes down to whether or not I want to do it so soon without wanting to get it right. They can be done live, I could play them off my laptop and sing over them, which I've done very rarely. With Cold Toast we were actually playing some of that stuff. Cold Toast is a bit more poppy, I guess, and more straightforward in terms of performance and things. But yeah, we are playing them live. A few tracks off this album I play with Cold Toast. So it's a mix of laptop and live drums (sort of a deconstructed drum kit.) So yeah, it's pretty interesting to do [laughs]. But I am currently  in the process of brainstorming a live band, both with instruments and electronics, to perform the Boas stuff properly.

Q: About your album, it sounds like there's something conceptual about it, kinda like it's taking you on a journey. Did you do this intentionally? What kind of trip were you trying to take us on?

A: [laughs] That's great, that's super. Yeah, I definitely love that aspect of listening to an album. It is conceptual--there was a lot of thought put into the flow, and giving you very defined plot points in the album that are very dynamic--parts that are really really sort of heavy. And all in the span of two or three songs, and then having two or three songs that are a complete escape from that. So that inevitably keeps you attached in some way; you can hopefully think that's conceptual.

Q: So about that, about halfway through the album, I think the song is called 'Dipole,' the album undergoes a sort of a transformation. What is the idea behind that?

A: The idea was for it to be a big turning point on the album, to depart from vocals and get into some more sonic territory. I think that point of transformation is complete when the song itself undergoes its own change, exactly halfway through the song. I liked it because it felt like a release from the previous four songs. Like you can just sit back, not worry about a focus in the sound, but more the ambience of multiple parts working together. That was just a process of a song--that's actually a really old song--and yeah, that had been through so much time and sort of remixing over and over as I grew a lot in working with that gear. I think that the way that song started was me, pretty early on, trying to figure how to use software and stuff, and so I think that song started as sort of an experiment doing what was sort of uncomfortable at the time like trying to sequence and stuff like that, and I was trying to make a song out of like a pretty coherent thing, even as simple as it was, then it sort of got regurgitated many many times. I sort of grew with that song. I like it because you're sort of thinking that it's going to be sort of another like "acidy weird gargly mess," but it does shift around, and I like those moments of release, you know, where it goes into the ambient realm, because ambient I feel, is a very universal way of musical communication.

Q: How do you do your synths? Software, hardware, both?

A: Yeah it's a mix of both. My studio is really really modest--there's really not much--but I was able to get a Juno 102.  But the thing is totally glitched out and it sounds insane. You can hear it all over the album. Certain notes will hold, go into overdrive a bit, starts screaming. It's used on a lot of songs, it's got a really really extreme personality and that's really the only hardsynth that I used, but I did use it a lot in terms of sequencing. And then a lot of it is stuff that tends to be more sculpted digitally using a softsynth. Which there's a lot of that, too.

Q: Kinda on a different note, can you tell me about your work with Galt?

A: Yeah, he's a good friend of mine. He's a songwriter and I've liked his music for a while. I've been producing other people's songs here and there, different songwriters and JOR producing, And then I started getting into electronic music and then he wanted me to produce his album and record it. So we've been working on that for way too long actually, we're getting really eager to get it done because it sounds really great. But yeah, basically, we're just trying to get this album done. He's gonna try to promote it, so hopefully it'll be good.

So yeah, be sure to check out the Richmond scene--between his other band and Galt, you can get a glimpse of the diverse sounds emanating from this southern hotspot.

Be sure to listen to the other music he's produced--hell, have him do a remix for you! (you can email Tyler at newboldtv [at] gmail.com)

Dubstep these days

I'm really torn with dubstep these days. I feel like I've been with dubstep since it first made waves in the US when Rusko put out cockney thug (cuz let's face it, that's when dubstep really took off) but these days it's been brought into the ever-genre-fucking light of the MAINSTREAM~~~~

This isn't all bad. We're seeing stuff like the luvstep mixtape which pushes dubstep into different vibes (trading violent gargling wobble basses for tame sweeping melodic basslines). Also you get badass remixes of big named producers by other big names, for instance this remix of a track off of rusko's upcoming LP on mad decent:

Rusko - Hold On (Sub Focus RMX)

Hey, genre pushing is great, but i think it gets ruined by jokers like bassnectar who cater to the drugged up, hippy, jamband scene. I don't like this american-version of the british raver. what the fuck america? does everything we do have to turn into some sort of mcdonaldized, mass-pleasing, money raking bastardization? ahh well, there's more to life than bitching about the mainstream. let's focus on the good shit, shall we?

First up is Freddy Todd. This dude churns out crazy, syruppy glitch-hop styled dubstep a la Rustie and some of the other lucky me crew. But he kinda trades the lofi nuances of lucky me for a fat, american hip-hop touch. Can you call it dubstep if it isn't 140bpm? Cuz a lot of his stuff isn't. (looks like he's even done stuff with my beloved Mochipet! yay!) But I fucking love it. oh yeah, he's from DETROIT, TOO!!!

Freddy Todd - Space 5 Penthouse

This next one is a real chopper upper. Seriously heavy, I'm going to get subby to throw it in a mix or something. I like how it feels as though this sort of ultra-heavy/grimey style of dubstep has evolved from simple wobbles to crazy shit like this (and it doesn't even feel that repetitive). You should check out Bar 9, his shit is heavy and he srsly knows how to keep it real fasho with the grime and all. However, I'm a little tired of the whole BLACK AND WHITE MYSPACE PAGE DUBSTEP ARTIST LOOK AT ME I'M A BADASS COMPUTER NERD WHO CAN DJ meme.

Sidney Samson - Shut Up & Let It Go feat. Lady Bee (Bar 9 Remix)

Lastly is a subvader release. A kind of otherworldly approach to dubstep, this Mr Hudson x Kanye x Gucci Remix is pretty nuts. Not many producers change up the feel in one song as much as Subvader, and nobody does it as well. His EP IS DUE MAY 1st!

Mr Hudson x Kanye West x Gucci Mane - I'm the Supernova (Subvader Remix)

Hopefully these tracks are enough for your grimey needs. And hopefully they're enough to help battle the upcoming epidemic of shitty popstep.



16 y/o Dylan Khotin-Foote is quite a super rad dude, and makes some super rad music as well.  Hailing from Edmonton, Canada he goes by Kumon Plaza and crafts hypnotic tracks using mostly old analog gear, and occasional sounds from his gameboy via LSDJ (which we here @Tweaking love oh so dearly)

Be on the lookout for his Cliff EP due out sometime over the next few days on digital/cassette.




Utah and Back Again

Arches National Park; Canyonlands National Park; Zion National Park; Moab, UT; Vermillion Cliffs National Monument; St. Louis, MO; Denver, CO

subvasion!! subvader single!

Subvader's 1st single, 'Y'all Can't Handle Me,' just got released! Heard it in a mix by some dubstem forum's dj's show and thought it was pretty wicked. I like when the dj's all like 'whoo-o-o-oahh phaze mann!'

The other songs on the Bloodlines EP are awesome. I seriously love the chillstep vibes-->great for coolin ya down in the summer heat! EDS, J Courage and Aquadrop are awesome, very creative producers.
You can buy it on iTunes, Beatport, Amazon, among some others. All Subvader's other music will be given away for free.

Speaking of, his ep is soon to come out! all 4 tracks are done and mastered and ready to be sent out! Stay tuned!!

Tweaking Trays


It's April and....

I'm swamped with finals.  Big whoop!

Got a lot of stuff I've been wanting to post about recently, but with my brain being hacked by Csound and Poincare Duality there isn't much room for blogging.

However, in light of all this swampness there seems to be a little room for procrastination, eh?

I now present you with the one track that's been blissing out my brain all day.  Caribou has done it again with new album Swim, and even put up a remix contest for one of my favorite tracks on the album, Sun.

Enter new Waaga Records signee Spirituals (a solo project of sample-based electronic musician / drummer / producer / graphic artist Tyler Tadlock) and you've got one of early summers first splice and dice irresistable dance tracks.  Tadlock does an incredible job here of taking an already great track, and turning into something very much his own with added jazz samples of horns and drums.

Be on the look out for Spirituals' new album due out on Waaga Records on June 22nd--




Great weather in the AA, and everyone knows sunny weather calls for appropriately "sunny" music. And while Sublime and Bob Marley may be staples for tropical tunage (at least for me), recently I've been really digging on "African themed" dance tunes. There's just something so happy and vivid about contemporary African dance music that I find completely irresistible in weather like this.

If ur into the whole mixtape-dance-music-'electro-bro'-blog-scene thing, then the Culture Club Mixtape #1 by DJs Genie and M!G!H! is a must download. I threw it on my pod when I read about it on Mad Decent and didn't really give it much of a chance, but after listening it today amidst the warm sunshine and budding trees, I fell completely in love.

Download/listen here:
Genie & M!G!H! - Culture Club Mixtape #1

Now I know what yall cynics is thinkin: all that 'modern african dance music' is too repetitive and abrasive for me. And yeah, this is true a lot of the time. I prolly like the stuff that's like "140+bpm (lil faster than house, doubletime of dubstep) with 4 on the floor kicks and sporadic snare/tom offbeat flurries and repetitive mono-chordal samples on the downbeat" as much as the next bro, but srsly, the stuff on this mixtape digs deeper than that.

It's able to retain pop sensibilities and interesting samples that keep middle class white boys like me listening. at about the 4:30 mark, for instance, the mix goes into some African bros singin over Architecture in Helsinki. There's even some lion king samples in there! (Think 'aahhhhh-za-bennya---a'feli-si-mamaaaaaa' etc.)

I don't speak any African lingos, but it sounds to me like it spans more than just Angola (which was all the rave for like a week late last summer) and maybe even more than Africa (do I hear portuguese/espanol around the 25 min mark?) Not very many repetitive moments in this mix that characterize all too many 'niche-mixtapes'.

(wish i took this photo but i totally jacked it from flickr)

I work on the radio @ WCBN FM Ann Arbor 88.3 FM, and one day while I was jes chillin in the fm studio I decided to rip some South African dance chune 'best of' compilations. Among the many gems, the "hope diamond" among them (if you will) was def this 1999 tune by Brenda Fassie:

LISTEN YO! (=^D) (<
Brenda Fassie - Vuli Ndlela

Prolly the sweetest part of the whole thing is the intro before the beat drops (cuz the beat just sounds a little uninspired to me, but it's not bad). I relly want somebody to sample the beginning and use it in a mixtape or something. Her voice is just so perfect. and did you here them ANALOG SYNTHS? Just sounds so sexy to me. And it really truly does make me want to get up and dance. The downside is that it comes in at around 110bpm... too slow for an electro house mix and too fast for hiphop... Maybe could fit in a disco set or sumthin? It's funny cuz the rest of the tracks on the compilation are about that tempo, too.

Okay, I couldn't help myself. I love this track too much to not put it up. It's from the same comp as the last track. The organ is absolutely fucking unreal. Trust me. You'll listen to it and be like, goddamn... that organ is fucking unreal. but, kinda like brenda's jam, it kinda loses something once the track gets goin. It's not that it's not a great song--cuz it is--but it just doesn't continue to keep picking up. BUT-->great sample material nonetheless.

All I ask is you hear like the 1st 30 seconds and not fall in love.
Soul Brothers - Mama Ka S'Bongile

Yeah, so that's all I gotta say. We're gonna have an interview with electronic artist BOAS comin up real quick. And also>>>>

Like, we're talkin it's a matter of less than 2 weeks or something. Here's the artwork:

You can preview one of the tracks on his soundcloud called "Ghost Ship." There gonna be some CRZY, bizarre vibes on it, you can betchurr booty!

most importantly:

Much sunny love,
Pac to the Man


Heard about this dude earlier this week from my pal Brian over at When We Were Younger and Better.

Baths is the solo project of Will Wiesenfeld, hailing from Los Angeles, and currently about to start a residency at LA's infamous Low End Theory. The sound seems to be a modern match of the broken hip/hop of FlyLo, and recent Bibio with the pop sensible vocals and side-chain compressed synth-bliss of Toro Y Moi.

"Maximalist" does an incredible job of mixing together bibio styled hip-hop beats with some gorgeous synth textures and vocal samples: A real killer track for the getting your summer started right.

If you think you've got him figured out from that one track, take another look. "Hall" comes across at first with a spazzed-out speed-altered-samples intro, and blisses out when the beat is joined by his soothing falsetto and gorgeous harmonies.


Be on the lookout for his debut full length "Cerulean" out on June 22 via Anticon!



Lazers Never Die (even in Ohio)

Call me a fanboy, about 3 months ago I bought tickets to see Major Lazer (and Bassnectar) twice in one week in April. That week is finally here and I finally saw the greatest dancehall/rave act of the century...
...in Cleveland fucking Ohio on a Wednesday night.

Needless to say, the dancefloor was a strange array of people: hippy-dreadlockers for Bassnectar, bros in Ed Hardy for god knows why, and the occasional guidette/sorostitute/raver/hot chick. So maybe I'm exaggerating about the lack of girls, but I'm not exaggerating when I say the dancefloor smelled like BBQ, corn and chicken pot pie. Golly-gee-willickers, I love the midwest.

Major Lazer put on a great show--Skerritboy mindfucked the wholesome audience by daggering the shit out of some girls they brought up on stage. All sizes of girls. It was awesome.

Skerrit also continued to climb around the light fixtures that enclosed the dancefloor. motherfucker is crazy.

Diplo held shit down--wish he would have laid off the house in favor of something a bit more fresh, but can you blame a DJ for trying to please his audience? People were responsive, but as I woulda guessed, everybody seemed to confuse Skerritboy with 'Major Lazer.' Skerritboy is not Major Lazer. Major Lazer is not a real person. He's a cartoon/concept Jamaican post-apocalyptic zombie killer whose story is told through the tunes produced by Diplo and Switch. So really, Major Lazer was everybody on stage (diplo, skerrit and that one girl they tour with). He is less of a personifiable entity than a thing which exists only in and of itself, therefore allowing the blanket term to be applied to the whole crew. Less of that, more of what came next-->>>>

<<<<----bassnectar. I was a little sad that the soundguy kept ML's set noticeably quieter than bassnectar's. I suppose this is a standard of club-gigging ethics, but it still pisses me off a bit. He was pretty sick to see live, tho... kept the energy at 110% the entire set. I've only seen that sort of crowd working at metal shows.

come to think of it, his set was very metal. maybe too metal for me, but the dancefloor ate it the fuck up. he hit the brown note and then some (approx sub-10hz). The place was flexing under his turntables. Speaking of, the guy is a fucking turntable whiz; adding crazy shit all over the place.

i scored some autograffs 2! Had a mini-convo w/ diplo in which i told him how awesome i thought his music is. I tried really hard to not suck his cock, but that's really what ended up happening.

all in all, exceeded my expectations for a venue in ohio. with friday comes their next show... in the mother fucking D. PUT YO' HANDS UP FO' DI-TROYYIT!!


oh yo, peep these crazy urinals! they bees in there! painted on like!



I drove my car into a cop car the other day

...well he just drove off (and left me with this sweet cover) sometimes life's ok.

Just caught wind of this little bird the other day, Bye Bye Blackbird to be exact,  who recently did a great synth-driven, drugged-out, and beat heavy cover of Modest Mouse's Float On, available for free via their bandcamp.  Very brief, but like all of their tracks, it just leaves me wanting more!


Check out their debut EP, Happy High, available now for free from from those awesome folks at Arcade Sound Ltd. (MillionYoung, Magic Man)

The EP consists of 4 tracks, none of which clock in over 2:40 seconds.  Reverbed blissful vocals and retro drum/synth sequencers might sound like the description of every other band you hear of these days, but these guys know how to play the 'short and sweet' game better than anyone I've heard since the 2-minute pop-punk song.


Blast Your Face with...

Candy Claws - Two Airships/Exploder Falls (2008)
Recently got word of this free 2-track EP over at Peppermill Records from a source I can't quite remember.

Bottom line: Candy Claws have been tearing up my iTunes playcount and my shitty speakers silmultaneously for the past week.

These 2 tracks, Two Airships and Exploder Falls round up each at roughly 12 and 17 minutes a piece, totalling to about 30 minutes of crazy exploding instrumental electronics.  The songs move between noise, more dancy / lo-fi disco vibes, and glitch all abound.  The result is a wash of beats with constantly changing shape and form that without a doubt legitimize their 10+ minute duration.


Candy Claws - Exploder Falls

Download the full 2 tracks for free via Peppermill Records.

Check back in a few days for another one of my favorite finds from peppermill!